The National Elections Commission says it is not aware of the pending political rally of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) scheduled for Saturday, August 19, but the CDC claims it has written the NEC.
The commission says the rally under the banner, ‘Blue Day’ which is expected to mobilize about two million people in the streets of Monrovia is being planned without its acknowledge.
But the National Secretary General of the CDC, Janga Augustus Kowo, denies, saying that the CDC secretariat wrote the NEC and that the communication was delivered on Tuesday, August 15, at the headquarters of NEC received by a lady identified as Mercy Yapkpazue.
Mr. Kowo says the CDC is not naïve enough to not have written the NEC officially about its upcoming political campaign, though he did display copy of the letter purported written to the NEC.
NEC Chairman Cllr. Jerome Korkoya told a press conference on Wednesday, 16 August in Monrovia that the Coalition is yet to formally inform the commission about the rally.He says if authorities of the CDC did not inform the NEC, the rally will be in violation of guidelines of the commission.
Mr. Kowo calls on Cllr. Korkoya to check his records well before making such public utterances against the CDC. Guidelines of the National Elections Commission require all political parties and independent candidates participating in the October 10, 2017 Representatives and Presidential elections to present their calendar of events to the NEC for proper coordination to avoid clashes between and among rival parties.
Chairman Korkoya says it is the prayer of the commission that the Coalition will do a formal communication to the electoral house to avoid coming in conflict with the electoral guidelines.
He stresses the need for political parties to responsibly handle electoral matters in order to maintain peace and stability across Liberia. Chairman Korkoya’s comment followed utterance the CDC youth wing chairman, Jefferson Koijii that the company hired by the NEC to print ballots for the October 2017 election is alleged owned by a relative of Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai, who is candidate for the Presidency.
Cllr. Korkoya explains that the company is based in Europe with no indication of having local branch or any contact in the country, noting that Koijii’s assertion is intended to spark tension ahead of the polls. A total of 2,183,683 Liberians have registered to participate in the impending elections, according to the NEC.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor-Editing by Jonathan Browne
Partial view representatives of 26 African countries n Liberia attending a three-day Capacity Building Workshop of July 26-28 in Monrovia Representatives of 26 African countries are in Liberia attending a three-day Capacity Building Workshop for the third edition of the African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF) Tax Outlook Publication.
According to a press release, the three-day workshop, being hosted by the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) is highlighting means of improving cross-country comparison and benchmarking comparable data on tax policies and tax administration and related legislations, among others.
The gathering seeks to provide analysis of tax data trends and identify good practices as well as understanding of the Tax Outlook Publication data collection processes. Addressing the opening session on Wednesday, LRA Commissioner General Elfrieda Stewart Tamba describes the workshop as a critical milestone of the African journey in providing high quality and reliable statistical data on tax administration covering the continent.
She praises ATAF for spearheading such initiative, noting that it will further enhance the collection and compilation of accurate tax data in Africa. The LRA boss also points out that the hosting of the workshop in Liberia demonstrates the importance of statistics in tax administrations and the vital role it plays in informing public policy decision.
She urges participants to dedicate their attentions in acquiring the requisite skills with the aim to improve the level of revenue collection across the Africa region. For her part, the Director of Research of ATAF, Dr. Nara Monkam, indicates that the training is aimed at enhancing revenue administration in the region through knowledge and experience sharing and comparison analysis.
She notes that the event is also a means of preparing for the third African Outlook Publication, which highlights factual and evidence-based statistics on all tax related matters on the African continent. The workshop will climax with the tour of the LRA Headquarters on Friday, January 28, in Paynesville. Press Release
Barely one month and three weeks to the October presidential and legislative elections, the chairman of the National Elections Commission or NEC, Cllr. Jerome Kokorya, is expressing fear for his life and members of the commission, alarming alleged threat from Senator Sando Johnson of Bomi County.
Addressing a news conference on Wednesday, 16 August at the NEC headquarters in Monrovia, Chairman Kokorya claims Senator Johnson threatens to deal with him and the NEC board of commissioners.
The NEC boss explains that the threat comes in the wake of recent ruling made by the board of commissioners in the domicile case involving Montserrado County Representative Edwin Melvin Snowe on one hand, and Cllr. Gayah Karmo and Senator Sando Johnson on the other.
The commission ruled in favor of Representative Snowe, but the ruling did not go down well with Senator Johnson, who has taken an appeal to the Supreme Court amid the latest report of alleged threat to deal with the NEC boss and his board of commissioners.
On August 9, the Board of Commissioners denied an appeal from Rep. Samuel Gayah Karmo of the ruling Unity Party, and Senator Sando Johnson of the National Patriotic Party against Rep. Edwin Melvin Snowe of Montserrado County Electoral District #6.
Rep. Snowe is making an unprecedented bid to leave his current district of representation in Montserrado County to vie in Bomi County Electoral district# 1 currently occupied by Rep. Karmo.
Following the NEC recent ruling, lawyers representing Rep. Karmo and Senator Johnson took exception to the decision and immediately pledged to mount an appeal to the Supreme Court, which is currently embroiled in a major impeachment push against three of its justices.
Detailing the alleged threats to members of the press, Chairman Korkoya further explains that on last Monday, he received a called from Sen. Johnson with a threat that he (Johnson) will deal him and the board of commissioners for the ruling brought against him.
Senator Johnson is former member of jailed ex-Liberian president Charles Ghankay Taylor. He is also former chief spokesperson for the Taylor family in Liberia. Korkoya added that Johnson, who is a member of the Liberian Senate, started his threats with insults and has been doing that on a daily basis.
He says not being satisfied with the threat through voice call, the senator allegedly reduced the insults and threats into SMS (text) which is in the possession of the NEC commissioners.
Korkoya notes that Senator Johnson threatened in his text message to deal with the NEC commissioners legally and politically. He says this could mean political assassination or other cruel attacks against his life.
He promises to file a formal complaint to the plenary of the Liberian Senate and other key stakeholders to ask the senator to provide further explanation on his threat.When this paper contacted Senator Johnson via mobile phone, he confirms threatening to deal with the commissioners but legally and politically. He however, denies raining insults on the NEC commissioners and Chairman Korkoya.
Tension continues to mount here ahead of the October elections. Group of lawmakers in the Liberian Legislature recently threatened to impeach three Justices of the Supreme Court for an opinion rendered in the controversial Code of Conduct for public officials, when the Constitution of Liberia protects members of the Judiciary from prosecution for opinions expressed in the line of duty.
The row between the first branch of government and the Judiciary has claimed the attention of the Executive and the Special Representatives of the UN Secretary General to Liberia, with both institutions trying to intervene to resolve the standoff amicably.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor-Editing by Jonathan Browne
President Ellen Johnson - Sirleaf has told U.S. group Carter Center’s Chief Executive Officer and Retired Ambassador Mary Ann Peters that the support of Liberia’s partners during the electoral and transitional processes here is very important for the nation and its people.
“These are very important times and I am committed to getting everything right. I am also sure that our political leaders, civil society, partners and all others are resolved to getting it right for the sake of Liberia”, President Sirleaf said Wednesday, 16 August.
Mrs. Sirleaf made the remark Wednesday when she received the Carter Center CEO Madam Peters when the Retired Ambassador led a 7-Member delegation to the Liberian Presidency at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Monrovia.
She told Madam Peters that consistent with the Farmington River Declaration, the Government of Liberia and all of the political actors will ensure not just free, fair, credible and transparent elections, but one that is very peaceful and violence-free to consolidate the democratic gains of the country.
Madam Peters is on a week-long visit to Liberia as guest of Carter Center Liberia Office. The Executive Mansion says President Sirleaf acknowledges the impressive partnership between Liberia and Carter Center, noting that the American institution has been a great friend to Liberia and its people.
She welcomes the delegation to Liberia and assures that her government is keen in helping to make the mission to Liberia a success. Key government officials including the Ministers of Justice, Health and Internal Affairs have provided insights on their partnership with Carter Center and commended the Center for being a true friend to Liberia and its people.
Also speaking, Retired Ambassador Mary Ann Peters, thanked President Sirleaf for the audience and provided update on her mission to Liberia. The Carter Center CEO has lauded the long-term partnership between Liberia and Carter Center, which she describes as rewarding and fruitful.
According to Madam Peters, Carter Center is keen on observing the presidential and representatives elections in Liberia, but will remain focused on its many projects including the mental health, access to justice, information, peacebuilding programs and identifying triggers or indicators for violence.
She has commended the Liberia National Police for its commitment to neutrality, maturity, professionalism and fairness thus far in handling security towards to the 2017 elections.
Ambassador Peters also highlights some of the many issues affecting women and girls and pledges to work with the government in tackling them. Also making remarks, Chief of Party Pewee Flomoku and Access to Information Lead Person, Thomas Doe Nah provided updates on interventions the Center has made in addressing hurdles identified in line with their respective program. They have acknowledged the cooperation of the government in enhancing their interventions.
Members of Ambassador Peters’ delegation include Dr. Dean Sienko - Vice President for Health; Dr. Eve Byrd - Director of Mental Health; Meaghan Fitzgerald - Mission Director, International Election Observation Mission; Pewee Flomoku – Chief of Party, Liberia; Dr. Janice Cooper, Project Lead, Mental Health Program; Thomas Doe Nah, Project Lead Person – Access to Information and Sarah Yoss.--Press release
The Ministry of Finance and Development Planning or MFDP has strongly rejected a local daily’s report of a potential US$41 million dollars deficit for the just ended fiscal year 2016/2017.
In a press statement issued here Thursday, 20 July the ministry ays its attention has been drawn to the Tuesday, July 18, 2017 Edition of the FrontPage Africa Newspaper in which the paper erroneously reported a potential US$41 million dollars deficit for the just ended 2016/2017 fiscal year, not on the basis of factual reporting, but on account of “reliable or financial experts.”
The release says the paper based its story on an unsubstantiated year-end fiscal reconciliation report of the consolidated account, indicating a wrong year-end revenue collection of US$522million and US$42 million as potential deficit; even though, the year-end expenditure estimate needed for accurately determining deficit or surplus was not mentioned.
The release claims the paper further suggested that the deficit could increase to US$50 million if US$4million payment for the Executive Mansion renovation and US$6million payment to George Haddad’s Prestige Motors were made, which it maintains, are all concoction of a “financial expert’s” imagination.
It explains that the Budget year FY16/17 successfully ended with a surplus of US$1.8 million brought forward to the FY17/18 budget, which has been approved by the Lower House and awaiting concurrence by the Upper House of the National Legislature.
According to the Ministry, Gross Revenue collected at end June 30th, 2017 is estimated at US$550.8 million, saying “This amount net of the ECOWAS Trade Levy of US$3.2 million brings the net revenue available to GoL at US$547.57 million. This fact contradicts FrontPage reported net revenue amount of US$522 million.”
The release further refutes allegation that Finance and Development Planning Minister Boimah Kamara has usurped the allotment functions of the Deputy Minister for Budget and Development Planning, and is not holding weekly Fiscal Management Team meetings with senior technicians regarding the formulation and execution of the national budget.
“In keeping with supervisory oversight of every department to ensure proper and accountable usage of tax payer money; it says, “Minister Kamara has instituted several reforms including the following:
The authorization of allotments to spending entities still remains a function of the Deputy Minister of Budget, but with the expressed approval of the Minister as provided under the PFM Act. The procedures for allotments, which are the first layer for authorizing, spending from the National Budget, have been revised to effectively minimize unauthorized allotments;
In tracking the execution of the national budget with respect to revenue performance and expenditure monitoring, the Minister still holds regular Fiscal Management Team (FMT) meetings with senior technicians of the MFDP and the Liberia Revenue Authority to discuss various fiscal reports and reconcile the financial position of the Government of Liberia. These meetings are in addition to regular Senior Management Team (SMT) meetings and general staff meetings aimed at cultivating a working culture that promotes team spirit and effectiveness.
The MFDP release says in the fight against corruption, the current management team is on record for improving systems and controls within the Ministry and taking punitive action against individuals caught in the act of misuse of entrusted public resources.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning encourages media entities to seek clarifications on news relating to government’s fiscal operations from relevant authorities within the MFDP before publications. The Ministry cautions against spreading false news, especially on fiscal operations of government because it has the propensity to undermine the economic viability of the State by scaring away potential investments and development assistance. Press Release
Opposition Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) presidential candidate Sen. George Manneh Weah says if he is elected president this October, Liberians will live a middle class life and attend schools whether they have money or not.
“If we are given the opportunity to serve, Liberian kids will walk in mall to buy goods of their choice, our people will attend schools whether they have money or not, hospitals will be available for all,” Liberia’s former international soccer soccer icon - turned politician Sen. Weah said Sunday, 13 August while being honored by the Fula Community in Monrovia.
He says the only thing Liberians need to do during his administration is to work, noting that he will create the enabling environment for the young and old people to work. The Montserrado County Senator claims that during his administration kids here will have playing grounds, and that colleges and technical institutions will be built to provide easy learning terrain for students.
He promises that hospitals will be improved for all Liberians, and adds that for too long Liberians have lived below the poverty belt. Mr. Weah says his administration is concerned about the redemption of every Liberian, be it partisan or not.
He called on Liberians not to vote for ruling Unity Party (UP) presidential candidate Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai, and describes UP partisans as virus that continue to eat the fabrics of the country.
According to Weah, the 12 years of service given the UP in which Vice President Boakai is the second in command while he Weah serves as Senator are enough.He claims that it is for the Liberian people to elect him for better living condition, peace, fair share of the nation’s resources, middle class living condition, good health facilitates, better education and a reduced tax environment.
Reading a statement of endorsement and support for Weah by the Fula Community, Kalilu Jalloh said their support is based on the past track record of the Montserrado County lawmaker they say has served the country.
He added that the best option for the country that is enjoying peace and stability is to give power to someone who once served as United Nations Goodwill Ambassador, one serves as Liberia’s Peace Ambassador and a humanitarian.
He opposes electing someone who brought wars in the fighting for freedom and rampant corruption. Mr. Jalloh promises that the Fula Community will stand with the CDC in these elections and will ensure that the CDC takes state power in a smooth and democratic way.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor--Edited by Winston W. Parley
An anonymous source within opposition Liberty Party (LP) has hinted this paper of a destructive ploy designed to distract LP’s campaign activities through the spread of fake media reports against LP Campaign Manager Musa Hassan Bility in connection to an alleged US$2.4million criminal transaction.
On condition of anonymity, the source tells this paper that LP political opponents see the party as a major contender in the 2017 October presidential elections, and are therefore seeking ways to cause distraction that are simply aimed at downplaying substantive issues that matter to the public.
The LP insider’s reaction comes following some falsified media reports by some unsuspecting section of the Liberia media, alleging business misdeeds on the part of Mr. Bility.
Recently, there were reports on social media and some publication in local daily here claiming that the International Police Organization (INTERPOL) had issued an arrest warrant against Mr. Bility.
The report claimed that INTERPOL was seeking Mr. Bility’s extradition into the Federal Republic of Nigeria for investigation in connection with a US$2.4million alleged criminal transaction.
But in contrast to the allegation against Mr. Bility, the LP source clarifies that a search conducted on INTERPOL website on Musa Hassan Bility shows now result, meaning that “there is no information on the INTERPOL website that he is wanted.”
The source at LP says the opposition party has categorically condemned the report, noting that such information is an unwarranted political ploy by lazy politicians who want to distract the party from discussing key issues of the 2017 presidential elections by employing falsehoods and fake news against formidable opponents.
The LP says the reports are far from the truth on grounds that Mr. Bility is not wanted by INTERPOL, and that his name is not on that site for any reason, be it criminal. “They think they go after Mr. Bility and others because they fear him a lot,” the source says, adding that opponents want to use fake news as a means to destroy the party.
It says most of these lazy opponents are engaging in these media ploys because they really see LP as potential winner of the Presidency this October. “It is not Mr. Bility who is one of those graded as contributing immensely to the present status of the party, but it is the party that the opponent wants to destroy,” the source adds.
Citing the LP’s level of centralized message of change, which the source says has largely bordered on reform, reconciliation and rebuilding to various spectrums across the Liberian society, the source suggests that the LP presents itself as the party with the best political structure that tends to get its opponent to become nervous.
“It’s because of these gains that its opponents, many of them, having sensed that the party is headed for victory at the polls, are beginning to throw fake media reports at some of its stalwarts, including Mr. Musa Bility, who’s credited to be one of the main architects behind the success of the Liberty Party in the ensuing October Presidential and General elections,” the source claims.
While acknowledging that Mr. Bility might have business friends in many parts of the world including Nigeria, the LP source reminds Liberians as well as journalists to be mindful, especially during the time of elections, that there will be unscrupulous individuals that will come with fake information to destroy their opponents.-New Dawn